Falstaff And Contrast In Henry English Literature Essay

The rubric of the drama written by William Shakespeare, Henry IV Part I, is misdirecting as king Henry IV is clearly non the supporter. Indeed, the character who holds the largest function is no 1 other than Sir John Falstaff. He invariably provides a counterpoint to the set of values on which most characters base their lives. Unquestionably, his engagement is important in the drama all the manner through. He occupies the cardinal place in the play because his personal values provide a contrast to the norms of society. The character of Falstaff develops a whole set of contrasting perceptual experiences. Therefore, his shockingly irregular behaviour contrasts with those of the other characters who are modeling themselves harmonizing to society ‘s criterions. This is a important portion of the secret plan because he brings different positions and thoughts into the drama since, unlike him, all the other chief characters are Lords. The character of Falstaff allows the audience to see a critical contrast: the difference between his personal beliefs and those of the other characters.

Falstaff ‘s presence brings up wit in the drama while supplying dramatic thoughts. Even if he sometimes transcends societal boundaries with his thoughts, his linguistic communication accomplishments allow him to knock the monarchy system of his clip by malignantly chairing his remarks through wit. His usage of linguistic communication gives a amusing tone to the drama. The latter makes the audience laugh by picturing the defects, and the pathetic characteristics and imposts of the society of his clip. His intelligence with linguistic communication is good demonstrated when he mimics others. In the scene where Harry and Falstaff engage themselves in a role-playing, Falstaff ‘s imitation of the male monarch Henry gracefully mocks, with a joking tone, the royalty of the royal household with cheery chiding. The wit derives when Falstaff puns on the words boy and Sun, when he says: “ If so thou be boy to me, here lies the point: why, being boy to me, art thou so pointed at? Shall the blest Sun of Eden prove a micher and eat blackberries? A inquiry non to be asked. Shall the boy of England turn out a stealer and take bags? ” ( II, four, 392-397 ) . This punning mocks the monarchy because the word Sun symbolizes royalty. It besides shows that he does non allow any consideration to the kingship. Royalty has no value for him, and he disparages the doctrine of life and the values of the aristocracy.

Besides, this role-playing scene shows how Falstaff ‘s positions stand out from the Lords ‘ positions when the prince and his friend describe Falstaff in a different manner. On the one manus, Falstaff ‘s imitation of king Henry is a manner of praising himself by qualifying: “ there is virtuousness in that Falstaff ” ( II, four, 414-415 ) . He besides pays court to him as “ goodly, portly adult male ” ( II, four, 407 ) . His manner to imitate the male monarch shows his feeling of himself as a good wise adult male. On the other manus, when Harry mimics his male parent, he refers to Falstaff as “ [ T ] ha nefarious detestable misleader of young person, Falstaff, that old white-bearded Satan ” ( II, four, 447-448 ) . Unlike Falstaff ‘s imitation of Henry depicting Falstaff, Harry describes him in an contemptuous mode while exposing the bad manner in which the Lords perceive him. Harry and Falstaff ‘s role-playing game demonstrates how their typical values contradict their separate perceptual experiences.

Falstaff ‘s lifestyle contrasts from the societal norms of the aristocracy. He does non conform to the usual beliefs. Defying the criterions of his twenty-four hours, he leads a life of orgy. He spends most of his clip imbibing and gluttony at the Boar ‘s Head Tavern. Falstaff is besides ever willing to commit larceny. He finds it entertaining and an easy manner to gain money.

He is dishonorable, and he admits his love of pleasance. Falstaff ‘s unconventional lifestyle contrasts with the Lords ‘ 1. He is ever looking for merriment and a good clip. His life precedences differ well from those of most of the other characters. He puts gags and banquets before everything, while most of the other characters are so haunted with award that are willing to decease for it.

As King Henry references himself, Falstaff is portion of a “ ill-mannered society ” ( III, two, 14 ) . Falstaff does non represent the courtly ideal of gallantry, which is typically associated with knighthood. His life style and positions sorely diverges from the ideals of knighthood. He seems to look down on morality by adhering to his personal strong beliefs. His hearty appetency for life creates in him the feeling that the value of award and courtesy is of lesser importance. His passion of being alive, nevertheless, is set off against the other characters that become Orthodox zombis for carry throughing duties.

Falstaff confronts the time-honored-principles by contending the utility of award. For case, Falstaff clearly does non keep the same position of award as the other characters. He perceives award to be a mere word, since as he mentions himself, he thinks that “ Honor is a mere finger plate. ” ( V, I, 139 ) . He financess nil worth deceasing for award because it is “ insensible ” ( V, I, *** ) to the dead. By virtuousness of his delectation in life, Falstaff conceives of true award as maintaining his life. Therefore, he illustrates his ain sense of award when he counterfeits decease in order to avoid conflict.

He does non allow the same worth to honour as the aristocracy does. Honor is a useless thing to him, as he tells Hal: “ Can honour set to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the heartache of a lesion? No. Honor hath no accomplishment in surgery so? No. What is honor? A word. What is that word award? Air ” ( V, I, 131-134 ) . Falstaff ‘s quoted words reveal the sarcasm of his mentality given his societal category since he is a knight. Falstaff dismisses conventional award as an ordinary word among 1000s of others. Harmonizing to him, award is merely composed of air, and his theory of award is that it represents an abstract construct without practical substance. Falstaff ‘s position of award contradicts common beliefs. Honor is an of import construct for Lords, such as Hotspur clearly shows his great concern with award. The latter conceives of award as a hoarded wealth that is entombed at “ the underside of the deep ” ( I, iii, 203 ) . Falstaff, in contrast, behold award as an useless entity.

Falstaff besides considers war with a complete opposite position from the other characters. For him, it was merely an ordinary event without much significance. He mocks war because, alternatively of being armed with a gun, he carries a bottle of poke onto the battleground. Besides, he demonstrates his crying neglect for conflict when he accepts payoffs from able-bodied soldiers and releases them. He therefore substitutes them by a troop of rabble psyches non suit for conflict. He knows that they will be killed because he refers to his soldiers as “ nutrient for [ gun ] pulverization ” ( IV, two, 3 ) . So he shows his carelessness towards war by conveying unable-bodied to contend while cognizing pertinently that they are non a strong and effectual defence.

Similarly, there is a large difference sing the sense of gravitation shown by Falstaff and the other characters. Even Harry shows the earnestness of the war when he stipulates: “ [ T ] he land is firing ; Percy stands on high ; / And either we or they must take down prevarication. ” ( III, three, 202-203 ) . While the prince reveals his gravitation through his apprehension of the approaching conflict, Falstaff does non give any importance to it. He exposes his light concern about war when he answers to Harry ‘s comment: “ Hostess, my breakfast, come. / O, I could wish this tap house were my membranophone! ” ( III, three, 205-206 ) . He merely cares about his hungriness without giving importance to the approaching war.

Falstaff evidently holds a differing position of trueness. His belief in this value is that one shall be loyal merely with other stealers. Falstaff points out his thought of trueness among stealers when he states: “ A pestilence upon it when stealers can non be true one to other ” ( II, two, 25-26 ) . The Lords, on the other manus, believe that one should be loyal to all without exclusion.

Finally, Falstaff has an astonishing wisdom and sense of uneasiness. This larger than life figure represents human nature in a really graphic and strong mode. He presents his opposed set of values against those of Orthodox Lords ‘ 1. The apposition of the contrasting scenes in the drama, such as elevated scenes mixed with the scenes of ordinary life, moves readers think. The set of high Lords and low common mans in the drama gives the chance to research a individual thought from two opposed positions. So, the contrast invites a moral opinion from the reader Ultimately, though Falstaff may look to be a coward, he has the bravery to be true to himself and follow his beliefs. His attachment to his ain rules gives him a hearty life appetency and makes him a happy adult male. This drama is the cogent evidence that being true to itself and following one ‘s ain strong beliefs is the key to be happy.

Word count: 1522

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